Dec. 11, 2015
WASHINGTON - Sophomore swimmer Molly Fitzpatrick (Manchester, N.H./The Derryfield School) qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:34.32, becoming the first Georgetown swimmer to make an Olympic trials cut. Fitzpatrick earned her qualifying time at Lejeune Hall at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
“The U.S. Olympic Trials is the pinnacle achievement for most American swimmers,” Head Coach Jamie Holder said. “Molly’s achievements are a testament to her hard work and drive to be the best she can be. No one deserves it more.”
“It hasn’t really registered yet,” Fitzpatrick said. “Multiple times I’ve looked up at the scoreboard and looked at the wrong time, so I had to make sure I was looking at the right time. But once I checked and realized that I had (qualified), it was unreal. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I had the biggest smile on my face ever and I looked over at Coach Holder and (assistant coach) Laura McGlaughlin, who were both really psyched.”
Fitzpatrick, who missed the qualifying mark by one second over the summer, has spent her fall training on shorter 200-yard courses in preparation for BIG EAST and NCAA Championships. But after a strong fall season, she was confident enough to give the 200-meter course and a chance at an Olympic Trials qualifying time another shot.
“I was just surprised that I got as close as I did over the summer,” Fitzpatrick said. “This fall, we altered my training a little bit and Laura has helped with my stroke. My confidence was at an all-time high after Bucknell, It’s the strongest I’ve ever been and my stroke was as strong as it's ever been, so why not go for it again?”
Fitzpatrick, along with the coaching staff, made the drive to Annapolis for the qualifying opportunity on Friday morning. It was a strange trip for Fitzpatrick, who is used to having the rest of her teammates with her at meets and also adjusting to the longer course measured in meters opposed to yards.
“I feed off other people’s energy and having the whole team around,” Fitzpatrick admitted. “But I got such amazing support, teammates sending good luck and their support and it made me feel like this time I’m going to make it. I didn’t have as hard a time adjusting to the course as I thought and I had a girl next to me who was an incredible swimmer, so I paced myself for the first 100 meters, picked it up the third 50, then the last 50 was as hard as I’ve ever swam.”
Fitzpatrick has been impressive since her arrival on the Hilltop last fall. During her freshman season, she set a program record in the 200-yard breaststroke, while helping the 400-yard medley relay team break another program record. She earned All-BIG EAST honors in both of those events, plus the 100-yard breaststroke.
Fitzpatrick has already shattered each of those program records during her sophomore season. At the Bucknell Invitational in November, Fitzpatrick won 200-yard breaststroke, surpassing her times from last season’s BIG EAST Championships, while also helping the 400-yard medley quartet improve their time. She also won the 100-yard breaststroke, breaking the program record, during the three-day meet in Lewisburg, Pa.
The 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials will take place in Omaha, Neb., between June 26 - July 3. The semifinals and finals of the women's 200m breaststroke is scheduled for Thursday, June 30.